I forgot. Again. And I have to laugh, because my mantra "Take a deep breath and forgive yourself everything" comes with an add on: Again and again...sometimes every minute....
But I still forget it. Or I fall back to the habit of not wanting those bad feelings around and struggling against them. Instead of allowing them. Hell! My last blog was about the fact that "bad" happens and from that we find our strengths. I say "bad" of course because that is an opinion. Nothing is inherently bad, we just assign meaning to it. These are really things we don't want....like feeling lonely.
Something I saw online today made me remember, oh yeah, you're forgetting to allow this. AND that's ok!! I get trapped in not feeling like I'm doing enough, then I pile on that I shouldn't feel that way, I need to be positive, why am I here again, etc...
My shoulders drooped and relaxed, because I didn't have to carry that load anymore. I can FEEL any way I need to, then let it go. Indeed you HAVE to let it go. It will likely come back up or circle around, and I need to acknowledge it when it does or parts of myself will feel rejected, but I don't have to get stuck in believing that is what is real or ALL I am. I, we as humans, are so much more. That's what makes us so amazing!
I am reminding myself, yet again, that this is a practice, NOT a destination and that I can rejoice in the fact that I am still part of that cycle.
Rinse and repeat!
In the land of plenty, home of the free and the brave, we've been taught that the American Dream is the ultimate goal. We are trained to reach for that college degree and mountain of debt so we can have a 3 bedroom house, 2 car garage, 2.5 kids and 401K. You get there, and you're there, right? Then the inevitable happens, maybe you lose your job and the house gets foreclosed on. Or dissatisfaction leads to divorce and a split home and suddenly, you don't have your dream so you HAVE to be unhappy. I mean, who could be happy as a failure?
First, let's challenge the initial belief. Who decided that to have happiness we have to have things or certain circumstances? Did you ever stop to think about the tribes living New Guinea? Think you they aren't happy? Indeed, they may be more happy to be living such a simple life!
Barring that, lets say you did achieve those goals, only to watch them crumble around you. Many say that is failure: their marriage failed, the business failed, etc. I'm fond of a joke by a famous comedian where he talks about people "awwwing" over his divorce and he says "Don't "awww" that! No GOOD marriage has ever ended in divorce!!" Congratulations are in order, you are doing something to take care of yourself!! You tried something, it didn't serve one or probably both of you, And if you are bemoaning your kids living in a split household: First, that household likely wasn't happy or healthy, so you are making a better choice for them. Second, now there is possibility for them to be surrounded by even more love with more family! It teaches resiliency, a key attribute. In fact, possibly the ONLY necessary attribute for navigating life because the only thing you CAN count on is change.
You didn't fail, you certainly aren't a failure. YOU tried, you just found one thing that didn't work. In this vast VAST world of opportunity, you've only begun to explore. And you, are still you. Amid those broken dreams, lives a bright shining soul that can chose happiness, even when you feel lack, because you still have the chance to experience, ALL of it, even the bad stuff. Because from the mud rises the lotus.
I've been thinking I need to do more. My classes have to be smaller, so I need to hold more classes. I been thinking I'm still not where I want to be. I haven't started offering Art Journal classes, as I planned to over a year ago. I went from having 2 workshops a week to only one. I was planning to move to the Front Range when my youngest daughter graduated, almost 4 years ago. I was going to start eating right, making my meals at home and swimming. I've been thinking that I should be doing something different than I am.
I've been thinking. Maybe I need to STOP thinking, stop trying to control everything, including what I am thinking and how I am feeling. I need to give myself the gift of pausing. Pausing and enjoying exactly where I am, and all the beautiful moments surrounding me. Then feel the ease that opens, breath in that freedom.
I was reading something today, about making inquiries. It mentioned how creativity wasn't about talent, it was about getting access to what is inside us. I've known that. My approach has been to lead people to the idea of using creativity to become present. It's really the same thing. My hesitation in sharing the other view is that it starts to get a little too close to a conversation about religion, which scares many people off. Hell, it would scare me off once upon a time. Then I thought, so what is it about becoming present allows us access to what is inside? A couple reasons. One, it forces us to pause, which quiets all those voices about the past and the present. Leaving you with what is truly happening, in that moment. Two, because what is inside us, that spirit, soul, energy, whatever name you want to give it....it LIVES in the moment. It literally doesn't know the past second or the future moment. To "it", now is infinite. It is always.
Can I be brave enough to share those truths with people? Well, here is a start. I hope I can be brave enough to start living from that spirit. Which is a pretty scary thing when you are used to following all the beliefs that have been thrown at you. "Learn from the past" "Prepare for the future"......yes, yes, all designed with the best of intentions to keep us safe. And robbing of us of experiencing the current moment, which, is all there ever really is.
Oh my goodness, this is very interesting that I found this saved draft from back in July. The last couple of days I've literally been hearing my inner wisdom saying to me, "Pause". And to my amazement, there it was. My connection. I've been struggling to re-establish that connection, thinking I literally had to drag myself up out of the pit I've dug for myself. When it was that simple. Just pause. Just BE.
Of course that is a word!! I know it is because I looked it up. Ever go to type something and it just doesn't look right? Honestly, I thought I made it up. I was surprised to find out it was a real conjugation.
So, now you know I'm a normal human being with doubts and flaws (like a horrible sense of humor) and guess what else? I struggle, just like you.
I struggle with making healthy choices. I struggle with feeling like I am doing enough all the while feeling like I am doing too much. I struggle with worry about past mistakes and future choices. As a matter of fact, most struggles could be summed up in that last statement. Struggle is natural and likely necessary, what isn't necessary is the suffering that comes with it. We suffer because we are either living in the past or the future and not in the present moment.
The buzz these days is using meditation to become present. I don't know about you, but when I try to meditate, I don't feel very present. My mind buzzes with so many thoughts! I understand that is natural, it's that you aren't supposed to allow your attention to be captured by those thoughts. My attention steps right into those traps, every time! Unless I fall asleep, then that meditation pillow turns into, well, just a pillow.
Some folks suggest trying writing in a journal. That can start out as a nice release and sadly turn into just being pulled farther into all that worry. At least for me, word vomit is what I call it.
What if there was a tool you could use that basically forces you to become present by bringing your focus to a relaxing task? What if you gave yourself permission to be messy? What if for a few minutes you let go of any expectations and just let something happen? I'll tell you what! Your inner voice that is always nagging at you, it quiets. Do you know why? Because all it ever wanted, was your attention. Only now, you are giving it attention in a positive way that YOU choose.
What is the crazy lady talking about?! I'm talking about art journaling. Oh my gosh, do you remember when you were little and all the crayons were just calling your name and you drew anything and everything because you just wanted to create?! You didn't have an inner critic, you just were doing what felt right? That inner self wants a voice and you can give it one. No skills are necessary. In fact, it's best not to have any, then you don't have expectations of turning out a great piece of art. You are just getting messy, making marks, doing you. And it's a beautiful thing.
So over the next few weeks I will be introducing more of the process. I am currently working on developing a hands-on program that I will start offering for anyone who wants to begin their own Art Journey!